Topic: User Testing

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  • Authentic Behavior in User Testing

    February 14, 2005

    Despite being an artificial situation, user testing generates realistic findings because people engage strongly with the tasks and suspend their disbelief.

    Acting on User Research

    November 8, 2004

    User research offers a learning opportunity that can help you build an understanding of user behavior, but you must resolve discrepancies between research findings and your own beliefs.

    Risks of Quantitative Studies

    March 1, 2004

    Number fetishism leads usability studies astray by focusing on statistical analyses that are often false, biased, misleading, or overly narrow. Better to emphasize insights and qualitative research.

    Usability for $200

    June 2, 2003

    How can a small company's website benefit from usability activities despite a minuscule budget? By integrating four simple and effective usability practices into the design process.

    Convincing Clients to Pay for Usability

    May 19, 2003

    Professionally run design agencies user test their designs to increase the value they deliver to their clients. The challenge is getting clients to understand the benefits of a solid development methodology.

    Paper Prototyping: Getting User Data Before You Code

    April 14, 2003

    With a paper prototype, you can user test early design ideas at an extremely low cost. Doing so lets you fix usability problems before you waste money implementing something that doesn't work.

    Becoming a Usability Professional

    July 22, 2002

    A successful usability career requires some theoretical knowledge, but mainly rests on brainpower and many years' experience testing and studying users. The only way to gain that experience is to start now.

    Success Rate: The Simplest Usability Metric

    February 18, 2001

    In addition to being expensive, collecting usability metrics interferes with the goal of gathering qualitative insights to drive design decisions. As a compromise, you can measure users' ability to complete tasks. Success rates are easy to understand and represent usability's bottom line.

    Usability Metrics

    January 21, 2001

    Although measuring usability can cost four times as much as conducting qualitative studies (which often generate better insight), metrics are sometimes worth the expense. Among other things, metrics can help managers track design progress and support decisions about when to release a product.

    Why You Only Need to Test with 5 Users

    March 19, 2000

    Elaborate usability tests are a waste of resources. The best results come from testing no more than 5 users and running as many small tests as you can afford.

    Cost of User Testing a Website

    May 3, 1998

    Across 50 teams, the average time needed for their first usability test of a website was 39 hours. The average site had 11 usability catastrophes that prevented users from completing their tasks.

    Measuring the Usability of Reading on the Web

    October 1, 1997

    How usability was quantified in a Web readability user test. Five quality metrics: task time, user errors, memory, understanding site structure, and subjective satisfaction.

    Discount Usability for the Web

    January 1, 1997

    Discount usability engineering is our only hope. We must evangelize methods simple enough that departments can do their own usability work, fast enough that people will take the time, and cheap enough that it's still worth doing. The methods that can accomplish this are simplified user testing with one or two users per design and heuristic evaluation.

    International Web Usability

    August 1, 1996

    The unprecedented international exposure afforded by the Web increases the designer's responsibility for ensuring international usability. Because of the myriad of issues in international usability, I recommend doing international usability testing with users from a few countries in different parts of the world. No guidelines yet published are sufficiently complete to guarantee perfect international usability, so an empirical reality check is always preferred.

    International Usability Testing

    January 1, 1996

    When working on a product intended for use abroad your best bet is to conduct international usability testing. You may need to engage a translator or even a local usability consultant, depending on the complexity of the test.

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